Or I would say in Dutch, “Martha, was het de moeite waard?” You worked for 32 years for one mission, in one country, in one town, in one ‘mission’ hospital and lived in one mission station, but you died without owning your own house, or your own cottage, or even your own holiday boat. You had no piece of earth to call ‘yours’ in the end.
Since 1982 you spent all your time with the poorest and sickest peasants of northern Benin, the orphans, the widows, the HIV patients but no one gave you the ‘Mother Theresa’ award. You worked incognito. Was it worth it?
You stored up all your treasure in heaven and none on earth. You received no Dutch or Beninese government recognition, no tribute from famous people, no SIM retirement feast, no hospital farewell ceremony, no human glory; you left us unexpectedly.
You drove old Junkers for all your mission life on dusty roads, not smart sedans with a/c and music. You did not go on exotic holidays or Mediterranean boat cruises but lived in a humid mosquito-filled world. You wore nursing uniforms and humble modest clothes. You did not go for coiffures, fashions, gym-fitness classes or beauty treatments. You attracted no human attention. Was it worth it?
Not being married, you could have adopted a Beninese child; instead you poured out your surplus funds on the orphans. You could have asked SIM to transfer you to other hospitals, to other countries or even to other ministries but you stayed in one place, one ministry for one life.
You lived by faith support for 33-years, never knowing if your supporters would continue to uphold you. You never got bonuses, raises, promotions: always the same mission allowance as everyone else. You never
got rich. Was it worth it?
Your final chapter on earth was your worst: a body full of cancer yet you were not afraid to die. You loved your Saviour, your worshiped Him, you lived, worked and even died for him. You made your entire mission career of 33-years a living sacrifice, pure, holy and acceptable to God. The world was not worthy of you;
neither Benin nor the Netherlands. What you did, Martha you did unto Him since only God remembers the dead. We the living, merely plod on. A bush hospital sees many deaths each week; the dead are soon forgotten. Martha, you knew that; you saw hundreds.
There is no honour roll on earth; there is one in heaven and you are on it. There may never be an honorary plaque for you on any medical ward; but there is a Book of Life in heaven in which your name is written. Martha, in the eyes of eternity, your life was amazingly brilliant and worth all the pain, even though few on earth will have seen it. Well done, good and faithful colleague; may you rest from your labours in the Lord. We already miss you deeply.
Martha Koetsier: (1951-2013)